Rates of aggressive offending among Justice-Involved Young Women (JIYW) have increased over the past few decades. Yet, there is little discourse, research, or intervention to address it among young women.
This study hypothesized that a higher capacity for self-restraint measured on the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory (WAI) scale among 14-18-year-old JIYW would moderate the relationship between the exposure to violence and serious aggressive offending.
The pathways to desistance project, a multi-site, longitudinal study, included a sample of JIYW aged 14–18 years old (n = 184). The baseline data were analyzed using linear multiple regression.
After controlling for two variables, race and neighborhood conditions, the overall model was significant (F = 8.31 (df = 7,176), p = .001). The predictor variables (exposure to violence and self-restraint) explained 25% of the outcome variable (level of aggressive offending). The moderation result was significant such that higher self-restraint weakens the relationship between exposure to violence and aggressive offending (B = − 0.01, t (176) = -2.39, p = .018).
This study highlights the need to disrupt the trauma- to- prison pipeline by enhancing positive social skills in a trauma-responsive manner, which could mitigate the effect of exposure to violence among JIYW.